Everything we do and everything we spend our money on reflects how we want others to think of us–our status in society. What type of clothes we buy, the automobile we drive, the food we eat, the entertainment we indulge in, and what we do for leisure time reflects, at least partially, our desire to impress others, to “fit in” the crowd we want to feel a part of.
We always desire to have something better than the next guy, to make ourselves seem just a little more important, better, or at minimum, to be at least recognized. Instead of buying one car and driving it for many years, we lease the latest model every two years. We have to buy the latest computer or electronic gadget, though we will never get our money’s worth out if it. We can’t just have a simple cellular phone, but a cell phone with numerous features we may never fully use.
We can’t have just a simple warehouse or office, but must have one that is impressive. We have to have the latest style, the latest fashion, or the latest “bling” to draw attraction to ourselves. We need to remodel the kitchen in our home, not because it wasn’t doing the job, but because of the status and impression it will make upon others. We can’t be seen in a simple outfit; therefore we need something that will draw attention to ourselves, if only for a moment. And it all leads to the other people you are trying to impress also trying to one-up yourself and others, resulting in an endless circle of spend, spend, spend just for the fleeting satisfaction of the status quo. It all leads to too much effort and examination of an individual based on how we look and how others look, instead of focusing on the substance, content and value within each one of us.
We have focused far too much attention on outer beauty, and spending money to look good on the outside; we are creating a society based solely on what looks good, instead of the God-given content and value within us that we are supposed to be shining upon others. When we spend money to look good in order to feel good, we base our decision of what looks good on what other people think looks good, or at least what we think other people would say looks good for us. And, since the “feeling good” is based on how we look, the satisfaction is fleeting and we end up having to spend more money to look and feel good again.
As Americans, we consume. And we consume for satisfaction. And an enormous part of that satisfaction derives from impressing others. Why else does the average American household have over $9,000 in credit card debt, other than to consume and buy things? In 2005 alone, Americans purchased an estimated $1.75 trillion dollars worth of stuff just on their credit cards! We couldn’t wait for the paycheck, so we took the easy route and bought it all on credit! We, as Americans, our more identified as consumers rather than citizens of a prosperous nation!
One of the most effective means to start saving your way to success is to stop spending money with the purpose of impressing others. And many times, a part of our decision to buy something is a subconscious thought of trying to impress others. We buy the stuff we buy, not consciously aware we are buying it partly to impress others! If you truly desire to save money and become financially independent, to not be part of the crowd, as most American are, mired in debt and financially worry, throw the white flag in your status wars. Give up the battle of fighting for status, attention, and belonging simply based on your consumerism. Free yourself to start saving money, to become financially independent. Honor yourself, and the substance, content and value within you, given to you by God, to be celebrated, not the latest the outfit you bought at the mall. Stop spending like everyone else in the crowd, step of the crowd, and start saving your way to success!